Down The Rabbit Hole
I stepped out of the portrait hole wand raised and glared at the three people who I thought were my friends. “Then I’ll have to warn you that sometimes I can be a bit terrifying. You have the next thirty-seconds to explain to me why you just cursed my brother.”
At first they stood frozen, obviously they didn’t expect me to be sneaking into the common room as they were trying to sneak out. “Callie!” “What are you-?” “We didn’t-” they yelled in surprise. I slightly raised my wand. “One of you better tell me what’s going on, I mean it. I believe now you have twenty-seconds.” I said seriously.
They all looked at each other before Harry said, “Snape’s going after the Stone. Tonight. We have to stop him.” My eyebrows crinkled in confusion. “We talked about this, Harry. The Stone is safe with Dumbledore and he doesn’t know how to get past Fluffy.” Harry shook his head. “We talked to Hagrid. He talked about Fluffy to the hooded stranger that gave him the dragon egg. Who goes to a pub with a dragon egg? It was Snape! I’m sure of it and now Dumbledore’s been called away to London and McGonagall didn’t believe us. Tonight’s his only chance. Snape’s going after the Stone and we have to stop him!” Harry explained.
Harry was right. If Snape knew how to get past Fluffy and Dumbledore had left Hogwarts, then this was Snape’s only chance at getting the Stone. A few seconds past. “The next time you use the shoot spells now, answers later approach on my brother, I’ll take your lead. Understand?” I looked them each in the eyes to show them I was serious, leaving Hermione for last. I may understand why she did it, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t upset that she was just going to leave Nev frozen, alone in the dark common room unable to move. I slightly shoved past them to get to Neville. Oh, Nev. I performed the counter curse and helped him up. His muscles were a bit stiff so I pushed him into the couch. “Nev, you need to stay here while you get the feeling back into your limbs. If we’re not back in an hour I want you to see if Dumbledore’s back from London, if not then go get McGonagall, okay?” Neville slightly nodded that he understood. I turned back to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. “Okay, let’s go.” Before they could open their mouths to protest I continued, “Somebody’s got to help Hermione stop you two from killing yourselves.”
It was hard to fit four people under an invisibility cloak, didn’t leave much room for walking space. Good thing Nev stayed in the common room, because he wouldn’t have been able to fit under here too.
“Ouch! You stepped on my foot!” Hermione whispered loudly. “Sorry.” Ron mumbled. Luckily we didn’t run into anyone on the way to the third floor. The problem was that when we got to the door at the end of the forbidden corridor, we found that the door was already open. Hermione reached out and slightly pushed open the door. I could hear a light melody playing from the room. The first two things we noticed once we stepped inside was that there was a bewitched harp playing in the corner of the room and that all three Fluffy heads were innocently snoring away. Snape had already been here.
“Snape’s already been here. He put a spell on the harp.” Harry said, stating what Hermione and I were thinking out loud. “Ugh, he’s got horrible breath.” Ron complained. “We have to move his paw.” Harry stated. “Wha?” Ron asked incredulously. Well, how else did he think we were gonna get through the door? Together we slowly pushed one of Fluffy’s giant paws off of the trapdoor. We waited a few seconds to make sure that we didn’t wake him up and then lifted the handle to the trapdoor that led to seemingly endless darkness. Well, this is it.
“I’ll go first. Don’t follow until I give you a sign. If something bad happens, get yourselves out.” Harry planned, taking the lead. “Does it seem a bit...quiet to you?” Harry whispered. “The harp...it stopped playing.” Hermione answered ominously. A big, white, slimy glop of saliva dropped onto Ron’s shoulder. Ew. “Ugh! Yuck!” Ron groaned as he touched it with his fingers, as if to double check that a spit bomb really did drop on his shoulder. You can say that again. Merlin, why is he touching it? We all slowly looked up to find all three faces of Fluffy looking expectantly at us and I don’t think it was to play fetch.
“Jump!” Harry screamed before he jumped through the trapdoor. We didn’t hesitate before jumping after him. Whatever awaited us in the darkness would be better than facing a cranky cerberus who hasn’t had all of their beauty sleep.
We landed hard, luckily, on something firm but soft. I sat up and felt around. It was like we landed on a big plant. “Woah! Lucky this plant’s here, really.” Ron said. We tried to stand up, but the moment we did the plant started to twist snakelike tendrils around our ankles. Out of instinct, we all immediately started fidgeting and struggling against the binds. Merlin, where is a twin that’s obsessed with magical plants when you need him, huh?
“Stop moving, all of you. This is Devil’s Snare. You have to relax. If you don’t, it will only kill you faster.” Perhaps that’s not the best way to reassure us, Hermione. “Kill us faster! Oh, now I can relax!” Ron yelled as he started to panic. Hermione smiled sarcastically at Ron. I tried to take a few deep breaths to relax like Hermione said, but it was difficult as the tendrils had moved up to my midsection and it was getting hard to breathe as it was. Hermione started sinking into the plants before she disappeared. “HERMIONE!” we yelled. “Now what are we gonna do?” Ron cried out hopelessly.
“Just relax!” I heard Hermione yell from somewhere down below us. “Hermione, where are you?” Harry called. “Do what I say! Trust me!” I took another deep breath and focused my tension and anxiety into my hands and balled them into fists. My nails were digging into my palms, but I couldn’t feel it. In, and out. In, and out. In, and out. Slowly I felt myself sinking into the plants until I dropped through to the ground below, Harry shortly after me. “Are you okay?” Hermione asked us. We nodded as we tried to catch our breath now that we weren’t being chocked to death by a killer plant.
“Help! Help me! Help!” The same could not be said for Ron. “He’s not relaxing, is he?” Harry and I shook our heads. “Apparently not.” I said answering the rhetorical question as Ron continued to scream above us. “We’ve got to do something!” Harry said. “But what?” I asked. I wish Nev was here, he would know. “I remember something from Herbology. Devil Snare, Devil Snare. Deadly fun...” Hermione started. “...But will sulk in the sun!” I finished. Thank you Nev and his herbology rhymes. “Devil’s Snare hates sunlight! Lumos Solem!” Hermione yelled with her wand outstretched above her. Beams of bright light burst from her wand causing the Devil’s Snare to retreat from Ron, dropping him to the ground.
“Ron, are you okay?” Harry asked as he helped him to his feet. “Yeah, lucky we didn’t panic.” Ron said brushing off his panic fit like he was brushing off the dirt on his pants right now. Yeah, right. “Lucky Hermione pays attention in Herbology.” Harry corrected. Ron’s ears turned as bright as his hair.
“This way,” Harry said, pointing down a stone passageway which was the only way forward. All we could hear apart from our footsteps was the gentle drip of water trickling down the walls. A few minutes later I started to hear a low humming sound. “What is that?” asked Hermione. “I don’t know, sounds like wings.” Harry said. We climbed down a few steps to a door that let into a chamber, its ceiling arching high above us. On the other side was another heavy wooden door.
“Curiouser and curiouser. I’ve never seen birds like these.” I said as I looked up at the thousands of flapping wings above us. “They aren’t birds, they’re keys and I bet one of them fits that door.” Harry said as he approached the broom that was in the middle of the room. “What’s all this about?” Hermione wondered. “I don’t know.” Ron said as he walked towards the door and pulled out his wand. “Alohomora!” Ron jiggled the knob but it was still locked. He shrugged back at us, “It was worth a try.”
“Strange.” Harry mumbled as he outstretched his hand towards the broom, but didn’t touch it. “Ugh, what are we going to do? There must be a thousand keys up there.” Hermione said in exasperation. “We’re looking for a big, old fashioned one. Probably rusty at the handle.” Ron pointed out. “There! I see it! The one with the broken wing!” Harry said, literally pointing it out.
Even though he just found the key that we needed Harry looked more defeated than ever. “What’s wrong, Harry?” I asked. He looked up from the broomstick, which his gaze had settled on. “It’s too simple.” Ron sighed loudly, “Oh, come on, Harry! If Snape could catch it on that old broomstick, you can. You’re the youngest seeker in a century!”
Harry nodded and slowly outstretched his hand to the broomstick once more before finally grabbing hold of it. The instant he touched the broomstick the keys started swarming around Harry so that he couldn’t see the bent one. He flew around the room, thousands of keys trailing after him like a swarm of wasps as he went after the key. “Catch the key!” he yelled as he flew around the beams above and descended again. When he was above us he threw the key; I caught it and immediately ran for the door, Ron and Hermione behind me. I tried to stop shaking as I unlocked the door. Once Harry flew in behind us we immediately closed the door, hearing the multiple thumps of the keys flying into the door.
A disgusting smell filled our nostrils, making us put our robes over our noses. The turned around, eyes watering, and saw flat on the floor in front of us, a troll even bigger than the one on Halloween, out cold with a bloody lump on his head. “I’m glad we didn’t have to fight that one,” Harry whispered as we carefully stepped over one of its giant legs. You could say that again. “Come on, I can’t breathe.”
It was dark in the next chamber. I just barely saw tall silhouettes of a bunch of statues. “I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all.” Hermione mumbled. “Where are we? A graveyard?” Harry wondered. “This is no graveyard.” Ron said with certainty. He took a few steps forward. “It’s a chessboard.” As he stepped into it, light suddenly flooded the room. He was right, it was a giant chessboard. We were surrounded by enormous black chess pieces that were carved from black stone. On the other side, blocking the door to the next chamber were the white pieces. Harry, Hermione and I joined him on the board. “There’s the door!” Harry said as he made his way towards it. Once he reached the white pieces, the front row sprang to life and blocked the way with their swords. I had a feeling something like that was gonna happen. When we took a few steps back they lowered their swords. “Now what do we do?” Hermione asked. “It’s obvious, isn’t it? We’ve got to play our way across the room.” Ron answered. “All right. Harry, you take the empty bishop square. Hermione, you’ll be the queen-side castle. Since Callie and I have played chess longer, we’ll be knights.” He said the last part a little dramatically, as if we died tonight his life would be complete because he was finally a knight. All mental jokes aside, we took our positions.
“What happens now?” Hermione asked. “Well, white moves first and then we play.” As if to answer him, a white pawn moved forward two spaces. “Ron, you don’t suppose this is going to be like real wizards chess, do you?” Hermione asked fearfully. “You there! D5!” The pawn that Ron pointed to moved forward two spaces. We all jumped when the white pawn then sliced our pawn in half with his sword. “Yes, Hermione, I think that this is gonna be exactly like wizard chess.
Every time one of their men was lost, the white pieces showed no mercy. Soon there was a pile of limp black players slumped along the wall. We darted around the board, taking almost as many white pieces as we had lost black ones. “We’re nearly there,” Ron muttered suddenly. “Let me think-” I focused on the board and the possible outcomes. “It’s the only way...she has to take a knight.” Ron said softly, coming up with the same conclusion. “NO!” Harry and Hermione shouted. “That’s chess!” Ron snapped. “You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I make my move and she’ll take me-that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Callie!” Ron explained. “But-” Ron was right. We did have to make sacrifices. “Do you want to stop Snape or not? Harry, its you that has to go on, I know it. Not me, not Hermione, not Callie. You.”
“Ron’s right. We do have to make sacrifices. There’s something that I haven’t told you guys. You see, I can’t-” I bit my lip. They all looked expectantly at me and I could tell they were confused and wondering if it was really the time for this. I probably should have already told them by now but I could never find the right moment or the words. I cleared my throat, “I have this condition, congenital analgesia. I literally can’t feel pain. Like my nerves can’t tell my brain that I’m supposed to be in pain. She can take me and it will still leave the king open. If anyone needs to sacrifice themselves it might as well be me.” I confessed. Before they had much time to think about what I said I continued, “Knight to H3. Check.” I squeezed my eyes shut as I felt the knight start to move under me. Even though I knew it was coming, a part of me was still surprised when the queen pounced. She struck me hard across the head with her with her stone arm and I flew across the floor into the rubble of stone pieces. Then everything went black.